Monday 7 March 2011

School by the River

Hmmm, Calamity Pam strikes again: I've found the list of Badly Damaged Schools in Christchurch, and it seems I have the full set. Banks Avenue Primary, Shirley Intermediate, and Avonside Girls' High - and this despite the removal of potentially dangerous decorative pediments at the latter when I was there in (augh) 1967-71; and further earthquake strengthening in the 1990s. Didn't I say it looked precarious, the bits they'd apparently replaced?

Shame, though: founded in 1928, and now most of the buildings are thought to be due for demolition, and the girls meanwhile are having to share at Burnside High, miles away. I liked the old brick building, with its thick walls and high ceilings and rather grand main staircase. It had substance. Now it has gaping cracks and liquefaction.

And another thing: the current Principal, I see, is Sue Hume, who was in my MA class at University. Talk about feeling old. But poor Sue - what a job, to have to sort out that gigantic muddle. And poor girls, too: the AGHS Year 13 Ball in a few weeks was to have been held at the Grand Chancellor Hotel, which is currently leaning precariously over its neighbours in the CBD and is due to be demolished, just as soon as they can work out how.

As are 10,000 houses, it seems, in some of the worst-affected suburbs, which will be left unoccupied - Shirley, Burwood, Avonside... My bit of the city, sigh.

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